A Brooklyn man in his thirties died of heart failure during a basketball game 45 minutes after drinking a Red Bull energy drink. When a person experiences this type of heart failure, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart is enlarged and becomes too weak to efficiently pump the blood through the body. The family of the young man is suing Red Bull for $85 million dollars for wrongful death.
Although some researchers claim that energy drinks are safe to consume, the FDA continues to research the safety of Red Bull and other similar drinks. A study by the American Heart Association found that consuming one can of an energy drink has the potential to change the heart’s rhythm and increase systolic blood pressure by more than three points. Scientists say that these effects can be dangerous, even to a person with no apparent heart issues, pointing to possible negligence on the part of the company.
Energy drink consumption linked to many severe health issues
This case is not the only one associated with the consumption of energy drinks. Adverse event reports, which are filed by patients, families or doctors, warn the manufacturer that a product may have caused harm. These reports do not prove conclusively that health issues or death were caused by the product. They are also not an all-inclusive list of the issues or fatalities that may be associated with the product because many doctors, patients or family members are not aware of the reports or may not understand the filing process. However, existing reports link energy drinks to many severe health issues, including the following:
- Heart attacks
- Permanent disabilities
In 2011, over 20,000 emergency room visits listed consumption of an energy drink as the cause or contributing factor in the visit.
FDA investigation may prove manufacturers are liable for medical expenses
The FDA is currently in the process of investigating these claims. If conclusive evidence links the events to energy drinks, many of which are marketed as nutritional supplements, the companies will be required to remove them from the market, and many product liability suits are likely to follow.
Anyone experiencing a severe adverse reaction to an energy drink is encouraged to seek professional legal advice, especially if the reaction causes ongoing medical issues and permanent disabilities that result in expensive hospital bills. With the help of an experienced attorney, a victim may be able to receive compensation in this type of case.